U.S. 'rocket city' hits Islamic State targets in MosulBy Babak Dehghanpisheh QAYYARA, Iraq (Reuters) - When Islamic State fighters were pushed out of the Qayyara airbase in July, they tried to demolish anything left behind. "Daesh did everything they could to make the place unusable," said Maj. Chris Parker, a coalition spokesman, using an Arabic acronym for Islamic State. Now the base, referred to as Q-West by American forces, has become the main staging ground for some 1,000 troops from the U.S.-led coalition along with thousands of soldiers from the Iraqi army and federal police as they try to advance on Mosul.
South Africa's Gordhan says court challenges unsettling Treasury
CAPE TOWN (Reuters) - Legal challenges facing South Africa's Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan are having an unsettling impact on the work of the Treasury, Gordhan said in a budget speech on Wednesday. Gordhan, due to appear in court on Nov. 2 to answer charges of fraud while he was head of the revenue service, also said vested interests and political contestation interfered with policy decision making. (Reporting by Mfuneko Toyana; Editing by Joe Brock)
S.African universities get an extra $1.2 bln to improve student enrollment
Students at South African universities and higher education institutions will receive an extra 17 billion rand ($1.2 billion) over the next three years, Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan said on Wednesday. The government of Africa's most industrilised country is under pressure to improve access to education following the protests that have disrupted learning at various campuses but has said in response to the protests that it could not allocate extra funds to education at the expense of health or housing. Weeks of demonstrations calling for the scrapping of university fees, prohibitive for many black students, have highlighted frustration at enduring inequalities in South Africa more than two decades after the end of white minority rule.
South African police fire stun grenades to disperse student protesters
CAPE TOWN (Reuters) - South African police fired stun grenades, water canon and tear gas on Wednesday to disperse students protesting outside parliament over the cost of university tuition fees, a Reuters witness said. The demonstration took place as Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan was delivering his medium term budget policy statement. (Reporting by Wendell Roelf and Stella Mapenzauswa; Writing by Joe Brock; Editing by James Macharia)
Syria airstrikes kill 17, mostly children, outside school
Justin Timberlake's ballot selfie highlights mixed laws
Google executives met Indonesian officials to negotiate tax bill: source
By Gayatri Suroyo and Eveline Danubrata JAKARTA (Reuters) - Senior executives from the Asia Pacific headquarters of Alphabet Inc's Google met Indonesian tax officials on Wednesday to negotiate the internet search company's tax bill, a person with knowledge of the matter told Reuters. Indonesia plans to pursue Google for five years of back taxes, and the U.S. company could face a bill of more than $400 million for 2015 alone if it is found to have avoided payments, senior tax official Muhammad Haniv told Reuters last month. Google Indonesia has said it continues to cooperate with local authorities and has paid all applicable taxes.
ABBA members to launch 'new digital experience' next year
Islamic State-aligned group takes Somali town, say officialsBy Feisal Omar and Abdi Sheikh MOGADISHU (Reuters) - A group loyal to Islamic State seized a small port town in Somalia's semi-autonomous Puntland region on Wednesday, a move officials said gave it control of a town for the first time since it emerged as a force a year ago. Islamic State, a rival to the larger al Qaeda-linked al Shabaab, seized Qandala port after a brief fight with local security forces. African peacekeepers are not deployed in Puntland, at the eastern tip of the Horn of Africa.
Dozens of civilians abducted and killed in AfghanistanGunmen in the remote central-western Afghan province of Ghor rounded up dozens of civilians and executed them on Wednesday in an attack that officials blamed on Islamic State fighters retaliating for the death of one of their commanders. If confirmed as the work of Islamic State, it would mark a major departure for the radical group, which has hitherto been largely confined to the eastern province of Nangarhar since its appearance in Afghanistan at the end of 2014. The killings in any case underlined the lack of security across Afghanistan, prompted not just by the Taliban insurgency and Islamic State violence but by a wider breakdown in law and order as government control has slipped.